A special moment in the final hours of this year’s Oceania Rugby Sevens Championship (Oceania 7s) preceding the final play offs was a special presentation made to the each of the eight Women’s Team Captains.
Page Mcgregor (AUS), Vaine Greig (COK), Litia Naiqato (FIJ), Julinda Cain (NAU), Emmanuelle Wadrenges (NCL), Janna Vaughan (NZL), Melanie Kawa (PNG) and Tiana Jones (WSM) were all congratulated on their team’s progress in the tournament and presented with garlands. The special ceremony reflects the commitment by Oceania Rugby for an #EqualPlayingField for women and men at the Oceania 7s and other rugby competitions and decision-making forums.
Using rugby to promote gender equality and, longer term, to prevent violence against women is central to the agreement between Oceania Rugby and UN Women Fiji Multi-Country Office (MCO), which is supported by the Pacific Partnership to End Violence Against Women and Girls (Pacific Partnership) funded by the European Union and Australian Government with support from UN Women.
This year there is an equal record eight women’s teams competing at the Oceania 7s including, in reverse alphabetical order: Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Nauru, New Zealand, New Caledonia, Fiji, Cook Islands, Australia. This is the first Oceania Rugby tournament attended by a New Caledonia Women’s team and the first international tournament ever attended by a team from Nauru.
At the presentation ceremony, garlanding the women captains was, from Oceania Rugby: Oceania Rugby Women’s Director and member of the World Rugby Council, Cathy Wong; along with the tournament’s gender equality partner UN Women Fiji MCO – and partners European Union and Australian Government who are supporting gender equality through the Pacific Partnership to End Violence Against Women and Girls – represented by UN Women Officer in Charge, Sandra Bernklau; Head of Cooperation for the European Union Delegation for the Pacific, Christoph Wagner; and the Australian High Commissioner to Fiji, John Feakes.
For the 2018 competition, in its second and final day of competition at Suva’s ANZ Stadium, there is a record number of women workforce officials and Pacific women assistant referees, reflecting a global movement to achieve more equal participation of women and men in rugby